In any family law order, the court will make a determination on how often that parent will see his or her child.
Arizona family courts consider the parent-child relationship to be very important, and, as a result, courts prefer that the child maintain a close relationship with each parent as much as possible. For this reason, the courts normally give the parent who has not been granted physical custody, a fair amount of time with the child or children shared between the parties.
Ideally, the parties will agree on extra time for visitation, but in some situations, the court does have to set restrictions on when and how the noncustodial parent spends time with his or her children.
Best Interests of the Children
When making any decisions regarding the children in a family law case, the court always looks to the best interests of the children as the standard for making any decisions. Courts tend to believe that it is in the best interests of the children to have a full and unrestricted relationship with both parents, but this belief does not always apply to all family situations.
The courts also need to ensure that the children are in a safe and stable environment as much as possible. If it is shown that one parent has abused the children or has put them in unsafe situations, the courts may order supervised visitation or parenting time for a set period of time.
What Is Supervised Parenting Time?
When a court orders supervised parenting time, the purpose of these restrictions on the time with the child is to ensure that the child is in a safe and supervised environment while still allowing the parent and child to spend time together. If the court believes there is a high risk for abuse, supervised visitation is normally considered appropriate.
Many times, supervised parenting time is ordered when one of the parents or children has made an allegation of abuse about the other parent. The court takes these allegations very seriously and orders the visitation to occur in a neutral, supervised setting to protect the children.
Additionally, when the situation involves a parent making allegations of abuse against the other parent in a means to deny that parent time with his or her children, supervised parenting time also ensures that the parent still has time with the children but also allows the supervisor of the parenting time to report that the interactions between parent and children are appropriate.
Is Supervised Parenting Time Common?
It is important to understand that supervised parenting time is not all that common. Every parent has a right to see his or her children. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has found that the ability of a person to care for his or her children is a fundamental liberty guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, unless there is a significant threat to the child’s safety, the courts will normally grant parents the right to be able to visit their children freely.
Supervised parenting time is normally only granted in those situations where the threat of abuse or neglect is serious and credible. The other parent cannot simply make up allegations in hopes of denying the noncustodial parent time with his or her children. When allegations of abuse are made, the court looks into these seriously and will only order it if the court has reason to believe that the allegations are founded in truth.
Who Supervised the Parenting Time?
Who supervises the parenting time can vary depending on the situation. Many local agencies in Arizona provide supervised parenting time service for a fee. However, it can also be something as simple as having a third-party, such as a grandparent, supervise the interactions to protect the child. The court will normally be the decider of who is to supervised the parenting time.
If abuse has been proven, the court may feel that a therapeutic supervised setting may be best where a licensed therapist works with the parents on their interactions to help improve the relationship.
Parents may also be ordered to take parenting classes along with the supervised time to ensure that the parent is taught how to behave appropriately with his or her children.
It is important to understand that supervised parenting time is not a permanent arrangement. Many courts will order it for a certain, set period of time. The parent also has the right to petition the court to have the supervised stipulation removed after so much time has passed with successful supervised parenting time sessions. It is normally meant to be a temporary situation to protect the safety of all involved.
Contact Us Today
If you believe supervised parenting time is appropriate in your case, you need a strong advocate in your corner. It is important you contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Contact us at (480) 300-6012.